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Help me feed my fussy kids!

11 replies

Slinkenconken · 09/06/2019 11:03

I have three children - 6, 3 and 3. They've always been given a range of food, and have generally eaten ok. They've all had periods of fussiness, which have passed, but they're getting more re are very few things they will all eat - pizza, spag bol, chicken nuggets, stir fry with noodles. I usually make the pizza and nuggets in an attempt to make them a bit healthier. Otherwise meals are just infuriating.

As examples, DC1 and 2 will eat sausages. 2 and 3 will eat mash. 1 and 3 will eat pie/quiche. 1 and 3 will eat fried rice. 2 will eat veg filled pancakes. 2 and 3 will eat fish cakes. 1 and 3 will eat fish fingers. All will eat a bit of curry, but 2 refuses rice, and 1 and 3 won't touch naan bread. 2 and 3 will eat macaroni cheese. If I think one or more will refuse something I always make sure there's something on the plate they will eat, e.g carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, corn on the cob, garlic bread.

I'm getting fed up. There's three of them, I work part-time, husband works very long hours. They sometimes help me to cook. Any tips? I don't offer treats or puddings as a reward, ask them to try one bite of something they think they won't like. I eat with them most of the time, and by all accounts they eat well at school/childminder. I've tried making things they eat there, but they don't like it because it's "not the same" as when they're there.

Any ideas? Reward charts? I'm getting a bit fed up with either cooking the same things over and over or chucking out food. I've always been a reasonably adventurous eater, even as a child, so I don't understand not trying things.

OP posts:
melissasummerfield · 09/06/2019 11:13

My dc are a nightmare too, but I recently decided to stop getting stressed out about it, i cook one thing and they eat the bits they like , they wont starve as they are still allowed fruit etc after dinner.

So from your example if you cooked sausage mash and peas you know that all of them will at least eat some of it. I have found they are more likely to try new things this way too.

Good luck with it Smile

YesQueen · 09/06/2019 11:15

Can you do it so it's a mix?
So sausages or chicken but keep the veg/carbs the same
Curry, but with naan bread and rice
Fish fingers or fish cakes with whatever all 3 will eat as a side
Or something like chicken wraps where they add what they want

Sockworkshop · 09/06/2019 11:18

Agree with melissa
Decide on what your main will be and add veg,salad, bread etc.
Place on table,they can help themselves.
No comments or whining allowed or they are removed from the table.

Ricekrispie22 · 09/06/2019 13:59

We have one meal, no choice and you must try something new but you don't have to finish it if you don't like it.
Many children will use food refusal as a way to get your attention or a reaction. If they're not underweight, seem healthy and are eating some foods from each of the groups, then you shouldn’t worry too much. If they see you get agitated, or if you try to force them to eat, this could make the situation worse.
Give your DC a recipe book and ask what they’d like to try. Together stick post it notes on the pages of the things they like. Then, when you make something that they’ve expressed an interest in, show them the book to remind them that they chose it. I did the choosing from the recipe book thing with my Dc and they chose stuff like tuna burgers, sweetcorn fritters, enchiladas etc...
Also take them shopping and let them choose out the fruit and veg. One success I've had is with broccoli. My son wouldn't touch it with a barge pole until I got him to pick the one he wanted at the supermarket. Then we came home and he washed it and broke it into pieces and popped it into a saucepan. He made a lot of mess and water went everywhere, but he also had great fun and has eaten broccoli ever since'
I also found that when they cooked it they'd try something more adventurous. Even quite small children can help in some way.
Use exciting names for foods e.g. we call chicken in sauce 'sticky chicken' or soup 'surprise soup' or green beans 'squeaky beans' (can you hear them?) and ham up the name ... Playing with food doesn't have to be a bad thing. A child is more likely to eat a food that’s colourful, cut into fun shapes or with a dip. My children eat things that they wouldn’t normally eat if it’s on a skewer! We also had a cheese fondue at New Year and they were dipping things that they’d normally turn their nose up at. We used to pretend we're dinosaurs eating trees when we eat broccoli – adds a bit of fun to the meal!
We've explained about vitamins and minerals and how they help your body grow and stay healthy. My DD will now eat mushrooms because she is desperate to be a big girl. And DS will flex his muscles when he's eaten a lot of veg!
A child needs to be somewhat hungry to enjoy their meal, so try offering only water or diluted juice for drinks and snacks of fresh fruit or veg between meals.
When mealtimes are becoming a misery or a battle ground then change the scene. Have tea in a tent or at a small table on tiny chairs with teddies attending
Take a basic food that they love e.g. bread, and add new things to it bit by bit – so try bread and cheese then eggy bread, then eggs and soldiers.
Even if they don’t accept the food the first time you serve it for dinner, they might the next time. Apparently it can take up to 10-15 tastes of a new food before your child gets used to it, so it’s worth persevering to widen the range of things they will happily eat.
Offer condiments. Sometimes, all your my DC needed to eat a certain food was a little bit of dressing or for example, sweet potatoes with some ketchup. Don’t limit the use of condiments; eventually, they might opt for the items without them.
Serve small portions. Children might be overwhelmed by a large portion of a food that’s unfamiliar or not their favourite. Also you’ll waste less food. You never know what your children will or won’t eat, and there’s no point in giving them a pile of food just for them to reject it.
If you know another child who’s an adventurous eater, invite them round for tea – watching them eat different food might just encourage yours to join in.

maddiemookins16mum · 09/06/2019 14:27

Don’t overthink it. Serve a selection of veg/carbs (within reason not 7 or 8) and just let them choose. It doesn’t really matter if on curry night one just doesn’t eat rice with it or on sausage night one only has veg with the sausages and no mash.

NannyR · 09/06/2019 14:36

What about letting them serve themselves? I've had success with fussy eaters trying new foods by letting them be in charge of what they put on their plate. I put the food on the table in serving dishes - familiar foods that I know they like and maybe one or two things that are new and just let them help themselves, with no comments or pressure to try everything.

Slinkenconken · 09/06/2019 14:47

Thanks for the ideas - DC2 will certainly like the idea of being a dinosaur!

I'll take them shopping too. We get food delivered, so I suppose they rarely see displays of veg. Maybe a farmers market or somewhere like that where it actually looks appetising rather than wrapped in plastic might help.

Thankfully they eat fruit, so there's always some vitamins going in. And they aren't underweight, so I suppose a reasonable amount must be going down them.

OP posts:
Sockworkshop · 09/06/2019 16:20

I would also suggest giving yourself a break OP
You are not chef trying to please your customers .
So one doesnt like mash or egg fried rice -well too bad, they can have bread and butter instead, no fuss or even mentioning it.

Too often there are people usually mothers cooking several meals each night trying and usually failing to keep their fussy DC happy.

user87382294757 · 09/06/2019 16:44

Mine are just like this! Same kinds of foods too. they are 10 and 14 and only have two though!- (so it may continue!)

What I do is sometimes make single size portions of things and freeze them. I just get out say a few fish fingers for one and a burger for the other and stick on the oven together, they both eat potatoes, veggies etc so put it together and that's Ok. So just get easy to prepare foods and mix n match.

rollingpine · 09/06/2019 17:14

Just cook a meal, dish it up and whatever one or the other doesn't like then let them leave it. Have bread and butter on the table to fill up on and let them get on with it. Ignore all moans and groans.

You say you don't offer pudding as a reward, but it doesn't need to be a treat for eating their dinner and either given or withheld. Something small and fruity or a yogurt would be fine.

Just give them all pudding afterwards as a matter of course.

Aquilla · 09/06/2019 17:27

If I make anything new or a bit unpopular I feed at 4.30/5pm with no after school snack. Drink of milk instead when they get home is my rule and it's been largely successful!
No drinks on the table with dinner to fill up on either, mind.
Starvation and dehydration are your friends Wink

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